RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has ruffled feathers by proclaiming liberalism to be obsolete prior to meeting world leaders including Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit in Japan – but has he got a point?
Mr Putin took aim at “elites” whom he accused of “doing nothing” to solve the world’s problems, as he also praised US President Donald Trump in a wide-ranging interview in the Financial Times prior to leaving for the summit, in Osaka. He said: “The ruling elites have broken away from the people. “The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people. Of course, we must always bear this in mind.
“One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.”
Mr Putin claimed the “so-called liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose.
He added: “Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.
“When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered.
“Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well.”
In a comment aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said: “That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?”
Mr Putin said: “As for the liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be.
“But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?
“The liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected.
“What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.
“So, the liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. “
Upon arriving at the summit, Mr Putin and Mrs May exchanged a terse handshake, with Mrs May telling him afterwards the UK had “irrefutable” evidence that Russia was behind the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March 2018.